From the the head. How?
February 22, 2011 6:28 PM   Subscribe

How do you INTs (Introverted Intuitive Thinkers on the Myers-Briggs) like to be shown appreciation, affection, acceptance, and attention and allowed to be yourselves?

As an ENF I always seem to come on too strong. What can I say? You folks are my favorite people and my heart swells with admiration and I just want to jump up and down going "OMG I luuuurve your brain!!!"

So, what works? I just met someone and I want to do it right this time.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (59 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
Supposedly that's what I am, and I think I'm no different than average when it comes to that sort of thing. Yes, I like affection, appreciation, acceptance -- in basically all the normal forms people usually display that. And I like attention when it's two-way -- we're both interested in each other and paying attention to each other. Too much one-way would probably make me a little self-conscious.

I don't think there's one way that all or most INT's are for this sort of thing. I think it'll really depend on the individual.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:35 PM on February 22, 2011

"You are right, ortho!"
"Nobody does it better than you, ortho!"
"Let me favorite your comment, ortho!"
posted by orthogonality at 6:41 PM on February 22, 2011 [54 favorites]

Jumping up and down? Sure, if I just ran a marathon, had my Internet startup acquired by Google, or won Jeopardy!. Other than that? Yeah, a little over the top. Depending on just how overenthusiastic you are, I might think you are mocking me.
posted by kindall at 6:41 PM on February 22, 2011

"OMG I luuuurve your brain!!!"

This. But only if I'm sure it's genuine. I love it so much when someone gets excited because of my weird brain.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:43 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Personally, I think I would be tickled if someone jumped up and down saying "OMG I luuuurve your brain!" as long as that person then calmed the hell down and had a nice conversation with me.
posted by Leezie at 6:43 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Cash or sex, along with "Atta boy!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 PM on February 22, 2011 [10 favorites]

Just wanted to add also that if someone were paying a ton of attention to me (unless I were teaching them something) I would get BORED! If the person doesn't want me paying attention to them and/or I don't find we have interesting conversations/they don't do anything I find interesting to watch, I won't want to spend much time around them.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:50 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Background: I'm a female INTP, with extreme I and strong NT. YMMV.

I prefer that people show appreciation and attention in a low-key manner. So, gathering my team into a meeting room and telling everyone how great my work is would be totally embarrassing and I would feel very awkward. I might even respond inappropriately, e.g., seem 'underwhelmed' by it, or maybe it's just my own INTP-ness that thinks this because I am not acting like the extroverted majority.

One-on-one (or at least small groups) is always better than large groups, especially if I don't know the other people well.

Matter-of-fact expressions of admiration, etc., are often but not always better than overt displays. I think it depends on the delivery.

As for affection--it really depends. I am not a spontaneous hugger, I don't use terms of affection except with the closest loved ones, and any kind of huge emotional display (good or bad) is bound to overwhelm me. However, I find that with certain types of people--extroverted, friendly, yet easy-going types--I feel more at ease and can become warm and outgoing, relatively.

Also--if you show affection, appreciation, or attention to someone like me and I look unimpressed or unresponsive, please do not be offended. Someone like me finds it hard to be affectionate and emotional like you (though I often wish I could be like you). Co-workers have often told me that when first getting to know me, my tendency to think and analyze during conversations/meetings was off-putting. Later on they were able to tell when I had my 'wheels turning' expression and let me go at it my own pace.
posted by methroach at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2011 [15 favorites]

Agreed that "OMG I luuuurve your brain!!!" would be fantastic and weird in a good way... once.

One perspective: The relatively low-key, thoughtful things resonate and there's often so much more in a look, the way a hand is held.
posted by ambient2 at 6:53 PM on February 22, 2011

I'm an ENT, so maybe different, but I feel awkward getting very broad compliments. Depending on context, "OMG I luuuurve your brain!!!" could definitely qualify.

In contrast, I like orthogonality's examples (in fact, let me favorite your comment, ortho!), because they're more specific. I like compliments when they show that the other person *understands* the thing I just did, and as part of that understanding, appreciates how hard/ cool/ impressive it was. "OMG I luuuurve your brain" doesn't convey that sort of informed appreciation.

And then, after giving the compliment, move on. Don't spend minutes gushing, unless they ask for more info or seem to be eating it up.
posted by pompelmo at 6:54 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'll focus on the I part, the only part of the Meyers-Briggs that has validity as I understand it.

Introverts are probably going to want to talk to you less than you want to talk to them. An extrovert in a new, exciting relationship with an introvert might consider taking extra care not to direct all of their social energy at that relationship.

Also, people rarely like to be pigeonholed or stereotyped, so make sure you're treating them as individuals and not just OMG I LIKE YOU PEOPLE!! which is weirdly objectifying and doesn't give them room to demonstrate their unique awesomeness. Don't, for god's sake, tell people that they remind you of multiple past failed relationships.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:56 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry--I answered the question thinking only of professional relationships. I should add that if you are talking about personal relationships, the same is true regarding low-key displays of affection/admiration. Privacy is important, e.g., Don't propose to me at a baseball game with our pictures on the Jumbotron. :)
posted by methroach at 6:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I (usually) test as an INTJ, and I love straightforward, honest praise. I'm pretty self-critical, so a simple, heartfelt "good job on this" or "I'm proud of you" or "that particular thing you did was really cool/insightful" usually comes as a surprise and means a lot. Like Ashley801, though, I find compliments that don't stem from some common ground ("you're so much coooooooler than me," "you're so brainy," "you're so [anything]") to be uncomfortable and a little creepy if they continue.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:01 PM on February 22, 2011 [15 favorites]

INTJ here. I favorited ortho's comment, but want to add one caveat. You might want to leave specifics out of it, because if you praise me for the wrong thing I will be upset (and think you are an idiot).
posted by cabingirl at 7:02 PM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

As far as attention goes, I never really left the parallel-play stage of development. I like to spend time with other people if I can do my own thing, often in silence. Sometimes it's nice to be in the presence of another person without feeling pressure to be entertaining. Needless to say, this doesn't win me a lot of friends. My best friend in elementary and middle school was the same way; when we had sleepovers, we'd immerse ourselves in a pile of books and ignore each other all night. We had an unspoken agreement to enjoy each other's company without interacting. Those sleepovers are some of my fondest memories.

"I find that with certain types of people--extroverted, friendly, yet easy-going types--I feel more at ease and can become warm and outgoing, relatively. "
I definitely agree with this. Many of my acquaintance-level friendships are with warm, easygoing extroverts who take the initiative to get to know me and coax me out of my rather prickly shell.

I'm not too into hugging or physical displays of affection unless I know the other person really well, and even then, there's only so much cuddling I can tolerate in one sitting. I don't like unexpected physical touch.

I'm fine with praise and affirmation, I guess, though I often react in a standoffish way. I'm just never sure how to respond in an appropriate fashion, so I just don't respond at all. If you said, "OMG I luuuurve your brain!!!", I'd probably just look at you blankly, but a little voice inside would be saying, "OMG OMG OMG I THINK SHE/HE LIKES ME!"
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:05 PM on February 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

I'll echo what some of the others are saying... that it would really really REALLY makes me uncomfortable to get recognition in public or ostentatious ways. (Even if I've done something incredibly awesome... I hate hate getting any spotlight/award for it).

The types of affection and appreciation I enjoy receiving the most.. are the simple, genuine and private ones. Like if I'm cooking dinner and my gf sneaks up behind me, slides her arms around me and whispers: "You're the best!" .... I like it when my co-workers find a quiet opportune moment (during a walk/drive/lunch) and say things like: "Hey, I really appreciated what you did back in the meeting.".... or... "Thanks for all your help today, it made a difference!"

The important quality for me.. is that it's genuine and heartfelt and simple.
posted by jmnugent at 7:05 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Show interest by asking questions and listening. Then, at some later point, prove that you retained that information. Many INTs I know are long-haul sorts. They do not do instant friends. But they have very good memories for who paid attention to what (and who is a silly flibbertigibbet who only gave the impression they liked something). There is a slow under-conversation of exchanged ideas and mutual interests that grows into a friendship.

Keep secrets. Be trustworthy.
posted by griselda at 7:06 PM on February 22, 2011 [33 favorites]

By the way, I test as an INT half the time and an INF the other half the time, and I prefer to date people who are happily and confidently themselves and rather independent. Someone who made it clear that they admired me irrationally would find it hard to win my affection as an equal partner. Being on a pedestal is uncomfortable when I'm simply trying to relax and be myself.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:08 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, right. I've tested as 100% I, and whenever I'm with another person who is more extroverted than I am, I find myself talking much, much less than he or she does. I like to listen to and think about what other people have to say, and will generally only talk if I have something substantive to add.

This might make you, an extrovert, feel uncomfortable. Please, please don't ask me "What's wrong?" or "Is something the matter?" because I'm not big on chatting. I really am listening!
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:09 PM on February 22, 2011

I agree that it depends on the individual. I'm a very introverted INTJ. As long as someone matching your description isn't constantly fawning over me and gawking at everything I do, I would probably appreciate the compliment. While I enjoy time with good friends and family, I do like to be left alone when I'm working, reading, or trying to concentrate on a hobby, which can sometimes be for hours at a time.

I also find other people's interests and passions interesting, so I don't like things to be made all about me, and frankly I prefer them not to be most of the time as long as I'm given space to do my own work. This will obviously depend on the individual person and what it is they like to do.

When I'm not on the internet, I'm usually pretty happy listening to other people talk without ever saying anything about myself or what I do. Sometimes it gets to the point where I only talk because I feel like people are going to think I'm a silent weirdo if I don't say anything. I'm really not a silent weirdo; I'm just content to listen and think much of the time. I don't feel quiet unless someone points out my quietness to me.
posted by wondermouse at 7:11 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

INT, here. I appreciate follow-up. I'm tickled when, a few weeks after a conversation, a friend says "Hey, I tried your idea, and here's how it worked" or "That book you recommended? Awesome because..." It matters to me that my ideas are heard, acted on and enjoyed. I dislike applause and praise, but love it when something from my head makes a material difference to someone else's life; credit goes to the idea, rather than to me directly.

I find that I need to spend time in my own head, quietly, and have always appreciated conversation partners who allow pauses between thoughts *and don't mind doing so.* My friends understand that sometimes I need to go away and think about things, and they'll often say "You don't have to give me an answer now, just consider it" as a recognition that I'm not as impulsive as they are. They don't take my silence and reflectiveness personally, as a judgment on them, but as a part of who I am.

My best friend is a way gone EF. And while I would never in a million years go dancing with her, I *do* love hearing the crazy stories she tells about bar chat or conversations with strangers on planes. She tells me these stories because she knows I'll appreciate their humor and absurdity. I get to be analytical, and to laugh, too. The best compliment she can give me is "OH MY GOD, I am SO stealing that line!"...and then the story of what happens when she does.

posted by MonkeyToes at 7:16 PM on February 22, 2011 [22 favorites]

Anything over-the-top strikes me as disingenuous. The INT combine to make me overanalyze that situation, which usually turns the whole thing into a negative.
posted by supercres at 7:17 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Secretly, we love being petted and fussed over, but only if it's authentic and we have a real friendship with you and you also give us plenty of space. (But I am a borderline INT/INF, so this might not be true for strong INTs.)
posted by yarly at 7:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Smile and pay attention.
posted by facetious at 7:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

INTJ here...I think previous commenters posted pretty much everything I came in to say, but wanted to add that sometimes try to be quiet yourself. If you're on a long drive (or just hanging out listening to music, or whatever else), occasionally there is nothing better than two people just enjoying the scenery/activity without having to yammer on about everything under the sun.

The occasional stretches of silence are a good thing.

If an outgoing partner did that with me, it would make me feel much more comfortable and happy to be around him for long periods of time. Talkers make me tired.

And if your new interest says "I'm not really up to going out to your friend's super-great party tonight, but I think you should go and have fun." He/she probably isn't just saying that to be nice--they truly mean it (and would appreciate some alone time!). Go and have fun!
posted by Zoyashka at 7:39 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Touch and sex...wait, what?

If you're a friend or acquaintance, basically what yarly said, along with many of the other replies. Authenticity is the key. Saying "wow, you did really well with that" once is enough. Even if I don't show much of a response, I absolutely heard it and appreciated it.

Also as far as everyday friendly conversation (one one one, at least) - authenticity is still the key. The people I like and love the most are those that drop their public masks in conversation, are honest about how their life is and where it is at, and allow me to respond in kind.
posted by MillMan at 7:56 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

For the record - INFJ but with INTJ tendencies when around new people.

I like to be appreciated/shown affection in small, subtle, specific, private ways. Down the track if I feel comfortable enough I will open up enormously and be extremely demonstrative publicly (emotionally and physically), but it takes time - lots of time - I am a long-haul kind of person. The "OMG I luurve your brain" thing can happen and I would appreciate it - just well down the track, not the first time we speak. I need to know that I can trust you and that I feel comfortable with you and that takes time to build. Otherwise it can feel patronizing and false, even if you genuinely mean it.

Which means that if you were to ever not be straightforward with me and/or lie about anything (even to make me feel better) it would take even longer for that trust to build.

If you were to suddenly, randomly ask me out (romantically or otherwise) in front of a whole group of people my head would explode (or feel like it).

Talking to me one-on-one - lots of this. Forcing me to be the center of attention in a group - no, head/heart explode.

If you know something that I like - favorite food, travel destination, book, movie, hobby, whatever - use it. I won't really respond well to "see how much I pay attention to you" kind of stuff that's obvious, but just small gestures that make me think you genuinely care.

Ask me questions - it shows me that you are interested in me as an individual and then I will ask you questions about you and we can build a rapport from there.

Also, doing things together is awesome - I'm not a sit-around talking kind of person, I get self-conscious very easily, so by doing things I can take my mind off how self-conscious I feel and in fact open up more.

So basically small, subtle, meaningful, private gestures one-on-one. And then we can avoid the head/heart explosions.
posted by mleigh at 8:03 PM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

INTJ here also. I like it when people tell me I'm doing a good job at something. I don't know about other people, but I have a really strong self-critical streak, and it's really nice to hear an honest favorable compliment, if only to tell that part of me that "here is objective proof that I don't suck."

Seconding also the comments about just spending time with your introvert, even if just being in the same room and doing different things. Quiet attention goes a long ways.
posted by JDHarper at 8:07 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I get a different score every time I take the internet version of the Meyers Briggs.

I think you should just listen to what this person says and then do that.

Really, in all of these areas, listening is the key.
posted by Sara C. at 8:42 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Show interest by asking questions and listening. Then, at some later point, prove that you retained that information.

I'm an INTP and I completely agree with this. One of the things I like most in this world is when someone buys me a little present because it reminded them of me or it was something that they knew I'd like. And sometimes you don't even need to buy it, just mentioned that you saw it and that it was something I would like. For example, one of my best friends mentioned to me tonight that he saw a life-sized plaster long-haired cat painted white and almost bought it for me. That totally made me feel warm and fuzzy because he gets me.

but wanted to add that sometimes try to be quiet yourself. If you're on a long drive (or just hanging out listening to music, or whatever else), occasionally there is nothing better than two people just enjoying the scenery/activity without having to yammer on about everything under the sun.

Spot on. There's nothing better than to relax with your own thoughts in the company of people you like.

Other things I really appreciate are people doing things they said they'd do and not flaking out, honesty and genuine affirmation. I'm a better listener than I am a talker so I get along with extroverts well as long as they don't take my silence as some sort of insult.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:52 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

New tech toy goes a long way to saying, "I love you and your brain." I always tell people money and praise mean very little to me, but a new computer or toy says sooooooo much more.
posted by fifilaru at 9:10 PM on February 22, 2011

At work, I prefer one on one praise, especially from bosses, that acknowledges that a) I may approach problems differently than some of my other colleagues, but b) most of the time we get some damn good results from it.

From a new romantic interest, though? I'd want someone to ask me about what I'd been reading, or to get me to explain things that interested me. I'm much more comfortable telling you about ideas or concepts than about me, at the outset, and consequently, you'd learn more about me by getting me to talk an area of interest by asking me too much about myself.

Also, completely agree on the importance of quiet-but-together time. I consider it a marker of a good relationship (for me).
posted by deludingmyself at 9:45 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

INTJ here. To echo what others have been said -- knowing your interest and application of whatever I've done to inspire you is far more pleasing than ambiguous adoration. I'm a teacher at heart and it pleases me to see people build with the tools I've given them.

Also - people going on and on about how wonderful/smart/whatever I am brings out the perfectionist monster in me (and this is especially bad with people who deal with imposter syndrome, which I do, to a degree) and will probably ultimately make me feel pretty bad.
posted by Wossname at 9:45 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

Borderline INTP/ENTP here. I like super-specific compliments and presents that take my hobbies into account. An ex who knows I make jewelry bought me a really beautiful pendant to make into a necklace myself once, that was nice.

The biggest pet peeve I have is praise for things people have no idea I'm good at-- stuff like "you're so talented!" when they find out I do multiple artistic things but when they have no idea if I do them well, or "I'm sure it's great!" about my terrible NaNoWriMo novel. That really makes me second-guess praise from them from that point onward.
posted by NoraReed at 12:07 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

I just want people who love me to arrange time for me to be completely alone. The best gift I can get is a break from the madness of humanity.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

Hm. As an (I/E)NTP, the praise thing resonates - it's got to be true (or something you believe is true, and can back up with examples and comparisons about how rarely other people do it, when I go 'no it's not that big of a deal...'). But a straightforward 'that was great and I really appreciated it' is awesome. I think that's probably universal, to be honest.

I've actually made most of my friends (almost all INTs of some sort) by being 'the extraverted one', which means I'm introverted enough that I'm not comfortable in the thick of things at parties so I go around having deep conversations with the (more extreme than me) wallflowers. So I don't think 'coming on too strong' is really a problem per se, as most people like you to show interest. But that's only true as long as you have interesting things to say and are interested in a good conversation or four. Gazing adoringly and demanding conversation (because "oooh you're so interesting!" or whatever) without having topics to talk about or questions/thoughts/ideas to feed in to the conversation-mill is just draining.
posted by Lady Li at 12:42 AM on February 23, 2011

Extreme INT here, despite what my perpetual chattiness around here and elsewhere would have you believe. For me, the best way to show affection, love, etc. is to explicitly say things that acknowledge that you heard me, understand me and relate to the experience we're sharing. Indulge me, play with my brain. Create a space where I can go over the top with thinking every once and I while and I know you won't be thinking "GAWD, stop already, always you with the beans!" And it doesn't hurt to tell me you lurrrve my brain too.

Also, I don't know how much this applies to other INTs, but I often feel like there's two world's I inhabit. The chatty, social one where words fly out my head and exhaust me to no end, and then the inner world where thoughts process, mingle and dance. Sometimes that escapes into words as well. But I'm always impressed when somebody 'sees me' in some way that is deeper than the thing I just said. If that makes any sense. I think it's about noticing the small details, the less flashy qualities and the place I really live and let loose, which is the quiet world of thought.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:46 AM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]

Oh, and if you can hold your own in a social setting or awkward situation, I will love you forever.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:48 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

For me, a strongly IN moderately T strong P, one part of it is that I work hard and take pride in what I DO, and not in who I AM. So it is fine, and even good, to praise appropriately for something I've done. But "OMG, I lurve your brain" would be kind of weird and awkward.

But I actually do like it when you initiate attention and affection, because it's harder for me, ya know?

And finally, I worked really damn hard on that clever pun/joke/analogy, so FFS, respond appropriately!
posted by drlith at 3:56 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I generally score INTJ so...

I like being shown affection, but I don't like effusiveness. A succinct, sincere and sweet remark will reach me and move me far more than any gushiness or hugging and so on. Same with compliments: I'm far more touched if they seem sincere and simply-delivered than if they're lengthy and overcooked.

I like quiet companionship. I don't need to be talking, talking, talking all the time and it becomes irksome if someone I'm with isn't picking up on that. Someone else mentioned the pleasure of long drives, walking etc, with someone you love and how it's satisfying to us just to be in that situation. There's a profound contentment in it.

But, perhaps atypically for an INT, I also really enjoy good, deep conversation and even argument. And I enjoy reasonably large social gatherings so long as they're suitably convivial, informal and relaxed. I seem to need both that and the periods of quiet reflection in my life. There are degrees in the four elements of the myers-Briggs classifications and I believe I'm generally classed as a "moderately expressed" introvert rather than the more full-on variety, so perhaps that's the reason.

One final thing - a problem I constantly have is struggling to take my place in a conversation. I frequently find that when I start to talk I get talked over or simply ignored. When I first started noticing this I thought I was being paranoid, or that the people I was conversing with were just especially bullish extroverts, but it just kept happening, in almost all levels of social interaction. At that point I decided I must simply be really boring to other people, and I spent a miserable few years going out less and pretty much staying silent when I did go out. That got old, and I got over it to a degree, although it still frustrates me when I'm halfway into a sentence and someone else just barges in with their own remark as if I don't exist or don't matter. So I guess I'm saying... try not to do that. We're maybe a bit more sensitive about it than you E-types and we appreciate it of you give us a bit more of a chance ro hold our own during a lively conversation.
posted by Decani at 5:23 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

INTJ here. I enjoy specific praise--instead of saying "thanks" when I catch a kink in the system, say "nice catch". If I ask for your input on my novel/poem/photograph, tell me what you like and don't like about it. Don't just say "it's great", or as others said, "you're so talented". That doesn't help me. Generic compliments always come off as insincere to me.

As far as the rest: just include me, consider me, and be on time.
posted by litnerd at 5:24 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

INTJ here. Tell me "you did a really great job on [this]. I particularly like the way you did [that]" then leave me the fuck alone.
posted by goo at 5:40 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Kind of in the same ballpark but with a different emphasis: I'm an INTJ, and I've found that I'm more or less okay with the assumption that other people aren't necessarily going to be interested in what I'm interested in (which is almost everything). That's okay. But just because I'm okay with you not being interested doesn't mean that I'm okay with you either criticizing my interests or getting impatient that I'm interested in things that you aren't. I tend to view it as a concession that I'm not forcing my own admittedly geeky interests on you, and it only seems fair that in exchange you let me pursue them on my own.

In short, you don't have to come with me, and I wouldn't necessarily mind if you did, but don't think you can stop me from going on my own.

Doing that really looks like care and affection to an INTJ (or at least to this one).
posted by valkyryn at 5:43 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Nthing all the people who said that specific praise and gifts are better than generic. In fact, presents for Xmas and birthdays mean much less to me than spontaneous 'I thought you might like this' presents, because the latter means that the giver recognised my interests and tastes and isn't just giving me stuff perfunctorily. (The same is true in reverse, when I'm the giver.)

Decani said, "But, perhaps atypically for an INT, I also really enjoy good, deep conversation and even argument."

This is probably not atypical. I am a big fan of deep conversations and lively, rational debate with people who have disparate perspectives.
posted by methroach at 6:00 AM on February 23, 2011

IN moderate F super J here. The best reassurance for me is hearing that my sometimes kooky way of thinking through things and processing them is fine, maybe even charming. I really enjoy when someone is intrigued by my line of thought. Also, everything iamkimiam said.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:11 AM on February 23, 2011

Strong IN, moderately T, slightly J here. I love deep, *real* conversations. I love to hear people's stories and learn about their lives and how they think and function. I have a mask for social occasions that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, but I'm always WAY more comfortable and happy talking one-on-one.

And yes, ALONE TIME. So very, very important. I go away in my head and kind of shut down when I have to spend too much time constantly in the presence of others. Family holidays are horrible. I usually have at least one day I describe as an Introvert Freakout where I hole up in a room in whatever house we're staying in and send my husband off to have fun, one hopes, with his family. And when we get home afterward, I need a few days of barely leaving the house to recover. My friends pretty much have to understand that when I get stressed, I go into hiding and just work on things or read things or witter about on the internet and pet my cats for a while, and it doesn't mean I don't love them. It's just what I do.

I am also terrible at accepting compliments. I tend to deny or undercut them. But secretly I am very flattered, and I love it when people genuinely compliment something I have done.

So about like everyone else who's responded, really.
posted by Because at 6:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

INFJ here.

I barely glanced at a handwritten note of compliments I received from someone because she wrote one to everyone in the group we were in, which seemed to me like "you have to give everyone in the class an invitation to the party, even the kids you don't really like", so it was meaningless.

On the other hand, an unsolicited three sentence e-mail I received from someone with whom I had very little direct contact that said "hey, you did a great job on XYZ, thank you for your time and effort" made me teary eyed. I printed it out and put it in my purse, and I look at it from time to time.
posted by Lucinda at 6:46 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

As an ENF I always seem to come on too strong.

INTP married to ES/NFJ. "Coming on too strong" to me means "directing too much energy at me." It can be kind of stressful when Es start talking loud and fast and effusively to me, since I feel kind of compelled to ramp up my energy level (which isn't even close) to match. I'd recommend trying to be a little calmer and low-key about it if it's an issue.

That said, there's a reason I married an E and not an I. I find the E very attractive and even when it's stressful, I find their energy often makes my life better. So don't change too much, just in specific spots where it's an issue.
posted by callmejay at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011

Plenty that's great here, but I have one thing to add: Do not make an IN anything a constant receptacle for talk therapy. I can absolutely see where it's tempting -- we're good listeners, we're good at analysis, we may even encourage it. But over time, if it builds to overwhelming, it can have the same I Don't Care About You As A Person effect that insincere compliments do.
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:49 AM on February 23, 2011

Showing appreciation is fine, but keep it on the cool side. Showing understanding of the persons work is an even nicer compliment. Sharing an outlook or a conceptual reference frame is a more bonding experience than just displaying (mindless) enthusiasm. Most artists tend to want to hang with other artists because they share a common language, and have similar values. If you approach them as a fan, you're immediately alienating yourself.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:14 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm an INTJ. I favor compliments that seem like the person has been thinking about it for a while.

If someone I just met says OMG YOU'RE SO FUNNY AND SMART OMG OMG OMG!!!!!! my reaction is usually along the lines of inner panic and an insistent urge to distance myself from that person.

If I've known someone for a while and they quietly reveal to me one day that they've always considered me witty, I'm beaming for a week.

Also: seconding what gnomeloaf has to say in a BIG way. Just sayin'.
posted by Temeraria at 10:14 AM on February 23, 2011

As an NT who can't help getting into relationships with SJs (Now married 10 years) here are my biggest challenges:

1. Nth what everyone says about low-key thanks/appreciation. A hey, nice job washing the car, looks great, thanks is 100x better than effusive (embarassing) fawning. Conversely, oh, that's nice, but you didn't wax it? (or anything critical at this time. Bring it up later if it's important. I constantly get the 'fuck, why bother' feeling when I've done something nice or difficult for someone and they criticize. I'm ok with suggestions later, once my proud moment is over.)

2. Autonomy. I don't care if you know the best way to shell a hard-boiled egg. I have 12 of them here, and I'll play around a bit and see what works best for me. Hell, you can even tell me how YOU do it, and maybe I'll try it, just don't suggest that I'm doing it "wrong." Trying "wrong" ways is part of the fun. Once in a while correcting me is fine, if it really matters, but I can really quickly get the feeling that I'm a puppet, constantly being contradicted on every move, even when it's not really the case.

3. The "I" part of INTx: my attention is my most valuable resource. I'll give you the shirt off my back and do ridiculous amounts of work for you, but you can't monopolize my attention all day. This is the part that has been toughest on my partners, because it seems like I'm not really "there" much of the time. That's because I'm not. I'm waiting for you to go away so I can think about what I want to think about uninterrupted. That doesn't mean I won't pay attention to you later or don't love you somehow. I just need these times sporadically throughout the day. I can be fully "with" you once I've gotten recharged on my "me" time.
I know that's kind of selfish. I do my best, but you have to help too.
posted by ctmf at 11:22 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

As a INTJ, if I've just met you, overly effusive praise/overly emotional conversation is downright weird to me. Usually I think of the first month or so of acquaintance-ship as being about feeling out what interests we have in common, so that we can chitchat about Thing X that we both like, but please, do not dump your emotional baggage onto me unless we have a close relationship. I prefer one-on-one chats immensely, too, and will be much more inclined to contribute to the conversation at that level. I'd also echo the comments above re: demonstrating that you understood and thought about what I said e.x. "Hey, you liked X, have you tried Y? I think you'd like it." Allow for conversational turntaking - it's rare, but some people just run on to the point that I feel talked *at* and forced to interrupt them, and I much prefer talking to people who value my input.

If you're planning on courting one of us (wasn't completely clear from your question), I cannot emphasize enough the "friends first" approach, too. I think because INTs are often very loyal and looking to the long-term with our social lives, we are much more inclined to get closer to people we already know than skip straight to dating.
posted by tautological at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2011

Oh, tautological has a good point! I am very wary of people who approach me out of the blue. I need context for who you are and a sense of how you fit into my network before I am going to let you in.

(INTJ here.)
posted by catlet at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2011

Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence might be of use to you as well.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:11 AM on February 24, 2011

INTP here. Subtlety, context, and honesty work wonders.
  • Good - "OMG I luuuurve your brain!!! (And I lurve you as a person even more!!!)"
  • Better - "Hey [fix], I've been struggling over [this esoteric thing my google-fu has failed to solve] and thinking, [fix] is really good at this sort of stuff! Please help?"
  • Best - "I came across [this thing] and was like, OMG [fix] would totally love it!!! So here it is:)"
  • Sublime - "Lets [do geeky activity] [with one more mutual acquaintance, tops] next week! I've done some research and it seems [variable] is slightly [different] than I thought - what do you think? We could try doing [action] and..."
PS As counterintuitive as it seems, the thing that I long for most when I'm seriously depressed / stressed out is: a hug.
posted by fix at 7:08 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

wow...ctmf. Nth, nth, nth. sending you low-key praise on item #3. Now I need to find a way to have my GF read it.

So I like to be noticed for this sort of thing and don't really mind effusive praise but I find that it's not often offered unconditionally. When someone says "Oh wow...THANKS!!" and does cartwheels and shit, it always seems like they are disappointed when I either don't notice or am not similarly effusive in my praise of something that they did (which I may or may not have even noticed).

So this leads me to prefer low-key praise. I prefer simple assurances of confidence in my abilities to "wow...i can't believe you pulled it off."
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 1:16 PM on February 24, 2011


Then, at some later point, prove that you retained that information.

as a byproduct of this:

I dislike applause and praise, but love it when something from my head makes a material difference to someone else's life; credit goes to the idea, rather than to me directly.

is the the real payoff. Not 'impressing' people, but leaving an impression that's valued.
posted by holgate at 4:00 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another INTJ here -

and a lot of the advice I'd give has already been given above. I'm dismissive of any praise I receive that either seems to be for something vague and not hard-earned or glib, so I heartily second the advice that any praise should be specific and well-considered. Avoid "oh, you are so smart" or "wow, it must be nice to be so talented" types of effusive compliments- we analyze things to death and anything that can be read as generic or shallow (no matter how much your sentiments are, in actuality, heartfelt) will make make us extremely uncomfortable since we will not only doubt your sincerity and/or question the depth of your intellectual reasoning, but will also silently form arguments against, for example, the concept of talent or the proper definition of "smart".

Also, it's nice to be part of a group and enjoy the conversations that are happening around us without our lack of direct verbal participation being called out. Being quiet is not the same as having a bad time. Some of my happiest moments have been spent basking in a warm glow of other people's conversations while enjoying the sense of camaraderie that comes from being amongst friends who know me well enough to not interpret my silence and watchfulness at these gatherings as a sign of judgement or boredom, but who instead let me enjoy things in my usual content, low-key, observational way.
posted by stagewhisper at 11:32 PM on April 30, 2011

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